Tuesday, January 31, 2006

On and on and on and on ...

More of the same

It’s more of the same on the OddBall front. I’ve got more of the filet crochet part of the border done and am now plotting doing a second bit. The other night, Liz and I went out and I think the decision on dye has been finalized. We’re going to go with silver grey for this section. It fits because silver is the second colour on this shawl. I have a silver medallion that will be placed in the centre of the vortex of the shawl.

Nothing terribly exciting other than I finished the belly band for the pig jacket. Unfortunately, Willie’s Momma is going to be away this weekend, so my plans to go to Halifax and fit the pig are on hold. Best laid plans of mice, men and apparently, swine.

Short post today because I’m a total idiot and seem to have to crochet every single row about 8 times. Why? Because I don’t have the sense to follow the pattern. I think the problem is I’m now comfortable enough doing the stitch that I just get in a trace like state and zip, zip, zip right along. Unfortunately, I zig when I should be zagging.

In any event, it’s back to the grind. Talk at you’se all laters; thanks for reading.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Shawl border breakthrough achieved!!!

My weekend thus far

It was another one of those OddBall domestic moments last night . I was in the living room, sitting crosslegged on the couch, knitting needles in hand, reference books scattered to both sides, and a pencil in my mouth. The OddBall IT and Technical Support Division has his back to me while he made ‘click, click’ sounds on the computer. Background ambience was provided by the dialogue of back to back episodes of the Law & Order franchise.

I was really frustrated because between my notes, the books and the knitting, something was dreadfully wrong and I’d be dipped if I could figure it out. I had ripped and knitted and tinked and knit and ripped some more, recounted stitches and knit again. I consulted and re-consulted the books and suddenly, voila, there it was. The mistake, in all its glory.

“YO!”, I yelped.

“What?” came the mumble from the corner. Apparently, my little shriek of discovery had interrupted the Conquest of the Universe, Part 1569.

“No, not you. It’s YO.”

“Yeah, YO. What in hell is a YO”.

“Yarn Over. I dropped one.”

A moment of silence ensued. “Sounds dangerous. Try not to put your back out chasing that thing.”

For the record, I’m not the only member of the OddBall Crib who employs sarcasm with abandon. But alas, the YO was recovered and the knitting continued until I decided to temporarily kick the OddBall IT and Technical Support Division off the computer long enough to type up what I had figured out all ready. As you can see, a few adjustments have been made along the way but more or less, I’ve got this border sorted.

And it looks like this - unblocked of course

I need to do a few more repeats of it to see if it’s going to be wide enough or if I need to stick in another line of do-hickies but it puts you in the general ballpark.

Well, today we’re off for a family fun day at the Fredericton Police Force Charity Hockey game. Talk at you’se all laters; thanks for reading.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Tagged by DudleySpinner

Tagged again

Dudley Spinner got me on this one. I love these tagging things. It saves actually having to come up with a column by my little old lonesome.

It’s the Tag of Fours.

Four jobs You’ve Had in Your Life:

1. Police dispatcher / 911 Operator -- for the City of Fredericton, handling police, fire and dogcatcher calls for Fredericton, Oromocto, New Maryland, Nashwaak Valley, Woodstock and points farther afield.

2. Front Desk Manager at a hotel.

3. Soldier

4. Farmer -- I had my own strawberry farm and bee hives when I was a kid.

Four Movies You could Watch over and over again.

Uhhhhhhhhh, I’m not a movie person. Lion in Winter. Maybe. Books on the other hand…those I can read and re-read. Perennial favourites:

1. Saint Maybe: Ann Tyler

2. Stranger in a Strange Land: Robert Heinlein

3. My Name is Asher Lev: Chiam Potok

4. The Tragedy of Richard III: William Shakespeare.

Four Places You have Lived

1. Fredericton, NB, Canada

2. Burton, NB, Canada

3. Angus, Ontario, Canada

4. Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Four TV Shows you love(d) to Watch

1. Law & Order (original version)

2. Daziel and Pascoe

3. CSI (Vegas)

4. Any of those completely bogus British mysteries that are neatly wrapped up at the end by the death of everyone including all the suspects.

Four Places You’ve Been on Vacation

1. Kouchibouquac National Park, NB, Canada

2. Prince Edward Island.

3. Los Angeles, CA -- yeah, did the Disney thing too.

4. Calgary and Edmondton, Alberta

Four Places You Want to Visit

1. Boston - all good Maritime girls need to go to Boston before death or they won’t let us into Heaven. Fact.

2. Scotland

3. Newfoundland

4. The Yukon territories.

Four Websites You Visit Daily.
1. Arseblog

2. The Guardian on line

3. Cycling news

4. You Knit What??

Four Things on the Floor or in the Trunk of Your Car/Truck
1. Ice scraper.

2. Snow brush

Hmmmmm, I’m actually pretty anal about stuff being left loose in the passenger compartment of a vehicle. Anything that can become a missile upon impact is not cool in my books. That’s what you get for hanging around accident reconstructionists all day

Four People I’m Tagging:

1. Diana, the Dysfunktional Knitter
2. Jackie, One Thread, Two Thread
3. Dancing Barefoot
4. Liz, who probably won’t have a chance to ‘blog because her head is stuck in the Peloponnesian War.

That's my lazy arse post for the day. Back to sticks. I suspect we have achieved -- drum roll please -- Silk Shawl Border Breakthrough -- tune in tomorrow for details and/or disappointment. Talk at you'se all laters; thanks for reading.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Truth of the matter

It's a-coming...

Two night shifts later and I'm 1/3 the way through this section of the border for the shawl. Trivia moment: the words thus far executed are Y gwir, Welsh for the truth.

And yes, it's going to be dyed...up against the main body of the shawl, which I have work so hard to make a play between subtle tones, this section is about as subtle as an elephant track through a lemon merigue pie.

Dye pot party coming later. Hold onto your pots, girls!

Okay, 2 more nights to go. It's bedtime. Talk at you'se all laters; thanks for reading.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Y me, Lord??

Where's the Y?

Well, in the What in the Name of the Great Spaghetti Monster Possessed You to Take This Bastard Job On? Department, we have the continuing saga of the border for the silk shawl. And the photo above demonstrates the last two day’s worth of effort and/or cursing.

After having taught myself (again) to crochet and figuring out where I’m supposed to put my tongue, I swatched. And I swatched some more on progressively smaller hooks. And when I thought I had it just about right, I had it with the shawl yarn and the dreaded 2 mm hook. You see the results. Honest, there’s a letter Y in there somewhere. Hint, it’s at the bottom. Not exactly the portrait of readability, now is it? Even counting for my weak eyes and overactive imagination, I can see this here plan of attack is not working in any dimension. No amount of wishful thinking and/or blocking is going to make this sit up and bark.

Two issues are coming to the forefront rather pointedly. One, crochet is a total yarn pig and while I have nearly 400g of the purple silk left, it was going at a ridiculous pace. Secondly, this was going to commit me to a border of 11 inches, when I’m aiming for 8. As it is, this shawl will exceed 6’ in diameter -- unblocked!!! Do we really need to stick another 6 inches plus onto it? No, didn’t think so.

Second, it is the yarn colour variegation. When I dyed this silk, it was a very careful purposefully tone-on-tone amethyst to purple deal. The yarn is not evenly dyed in the least bit which is exactly what I wanted. It gives a sense of texture to the lace and a subtlety of shading. However, for this filet crochet, it’s working against me in that the variegation is a distraction from the form.

Final analysis -- wrong size. Wrong colour. At which point, even this OddBall could recognize the mission needed to be scrubbed.

Which brings us nicely to The Silk Shawl Border -- Chapter 287. You know that at some point, the novelty of all this is going to start to wear thin.

Why, there it is.

Back to the drawing board -- again. Mother of Pearl, I need my head read. Fortunately, I just happen to have 7. 8 billion miles of lace weight silk on hand, undyed of course. Like what household would be complete without it? And a 1.25 mm hook and here’s yesterday’s pursuit of perfection. A little better on the readability front and it’s about 8 inches wide, which works much better for me.

Now, the colour issue needs to be kicked around. Obviously, dying it to match the other silk is not going to happen. Can we all say ‘dye lot’? Right -- not a chance in hell I’d ever match it up. I’m contemplating leaving it natural, if I can pull it off without it looking like “I was afraid to dye this” when it’s up against the rest of the shawl. And I think I need to stick with a lighter colour because the dark colours are just going to obscure the lettering.

On the other hand, I could opt for glitter glue and ostrich feathers. Don't sneer -- I'm almost there. Come on -- it's my lifetime ambition to make the cut for You Knit What??

It's a pig jacket

No? Well, I guess I can leave my kindergarden designer tendencies to be put to use with Willie’s jacket. The main jacket is done. Now I’m knitting the yardage for the felted roses…oh come on, you just know it needs it. I have no idea where to put the underarm strap on it so I think I’m going to leave that until I go to Halifax for the fitting.

In any event, I’ve got a kid to haul to the orthodontist and crap to accomplish, so that‘s it for today‘s blather. In yet another moment of madness, I talked myself into taking someone else’s night shifts so I doing four in a row. Probably won’t be blogging much until the weekend. Talk to you’se all laters; thanks for reading.

Monday, January 23, 2006

A very Canadian call to arms

No whining allowed

Okay, it’s time for the OddBall to get serious. Today is the 23rd day of January, and if you live north of the 49th parallel in that weirdo experiment called Canada, it’s Election Day. And I expect YOU to get off your duff and go vote.

Universal suffrage is rather new to Canada, literally within my lifetime. In the nineteenth century, you had to be a property owner and, oh right, a man in order to have a say in how things are run. Since then, we’ve put a lot of effort into making sure that every person can cast a ballot. During the First World War, arrangements were made so front line soldiers in Europe could exercise their franchise in the 1917 federal election. You didn’t even have to be here to vote with the introduction of the postal ballot.

Women were legally excluded from voting after Confederation. Little known fact is that we could vote prior to 1867 if we had met the property rights requirements but very few of those who met this standard bothered to show up. (Now does that sound familiar?) Women managed to get the vote back in 1917 but could only use it if we met the requirements for exception made for military personnel. In short, in the 1917 federal election, the only women who voted were the military nursing ‘sisters’ in Europe. By 1918, all women could vote in Canada and our first female MP was Agnes MacPhail, voted into the House in 1921.

Of course, all of this was guaranteed only if you were of European descent, more or less. For a long time, members of Canada’s First Nations had to give up their treaty rights and registered Indian status to get a ballot. The legislation that permitted racial and religious discrimination remained on the books until 1960. Historic examples of people denied the vote in Canada because some arse had his knickers in a twist over something included Canadians of Japanese, Chinese or East Indian origins, Mennonites, Doukhobors and Catholics. The 1963 federal election was the first in which the right to vote was truly universal for all Canadians. I told you it was within the OddBall lifetime.

I don’t care where you stick your X on Election Day but you want to be sticking it somewhere. A spoiled ballot is a valid electoral choice. Writing “Mickey Mouse for President” is a valid political statement but none of it counts if you can’t be arsed to get down to the polling station.

What I don’t want to be hearing come Tuesday is the usual litany of lame and stupid excuses for “why I didn’t vote’? And I think I’ve heard most of them by now. Here’s some of my personal favourites over the years.

I didn’t have time.
This is usually whined at me by the person who does the least in the run of a day. You have the same 24 hours as the rest of us. Use 10 minutes of it to vote. And since 1915, under the Elections Canada Act, your employer is required to ensure all employees working on an election day have a clear 3 hour window in which to vote. So, if you work 12 hour shifts, like I do, you get to vote on your boss’ dime.

I don’t know who the candidates are.
It’s okay. Elections Canada print their names on the ballot for you. They even make it easy by putting the party affiliation with the name. Guess work is eliminated.

I don’t know what the issues are.
You live here, don’t you? Do you pay taxes? Do you work? Do you live off someone else’s taxes? Do you drive on the streets? Do you drink water? Breath air? Have you ever consulted a physician? Have you ever attended a school? Do you think we should have backed the American government's latest war effort? Do you think we should insist that the American government start honouring the trade agreements they signed and/or start playing by the same trade rules they expect the rest of the world to abide by? Those are the bloody issues. Smarten up.

I don’t like any of the local candidates.
Do I see your name on the ballot? No? Then shut up and do like the rest of us and make the best choice you can with what’s available. You think the rest of us live in a perfect world? No, my friend, it’s often about selecting the least stupid candidate. Get over it. The rest of us grownups have learned to cope with it and you can too. Ditto for the argument "all politicians are crooks", pick the best/least worse of the lot. It's not complicated.

Let me put it to you this way. Every federal prisoner in for rape, robbery, murder, child molestation and carjacking is entitled to vote. The guy who just pulled jail time for trying to sell crack cocaine to your kids is going to vote today. What else has he got to do? Look for a job? And you’re going to tell me you haven’t got time, energy or inclination to spend 10 minutes at the polling booth. Get real.

The only reasonable excuse for not voting today is a valid death certificate. Oh right, this is the Maritimes, people, where even the dead still exercise their right to vote for two or three elections after shuffling off this mortal coil. It's a wonder there isn't a polling station located inside the gates of the larger cemeteries around here for the convenience of the residents.

So, just get out there and do it. If dead people can vote, so can you. Okay? Thanks for reading; talk at you later if I’m not too pissed about tonight’s results.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Crochet Hell

Who's idea was this anyway?

My last attempt at crocheting was so successful that you’d think at least a calendar year would pass before I’d pick up one of those hooks and have at it again. For the record, I don’t do it well, and furthermore I hate doing it.

So why, after the passage of a mere ten months, have I picked up those dreaded hooks again? Well, it’s that damn shawl, that’s what it is. After several months of swatching, ripping, tearing and swearing, I finally had the OddBall epiphany on the subject. I’m doing it all wrong. Start OVER.

It’s not that I can’t come up with a border for that shawl. There are a zillion lace edgings, border patterns in existence, and I’ve seriously considered screaming “what the hell?“ and just finishing the shawl. Then it would be down to ‘point,click and ship’ to the Colorado and it would be out of my life, forever. But nooooooo, my issue has been I’ve got a picture of this thing in my head and I’ve been trying to knit the string to make it match what’s in my head. It finally dawned on me that what’s in my head is not knitted. It’s filet crochet, which is all good and fine, except I don’t do crochet.

Apparently I do now. Here’s a puzzler for you. How come when the Voices talk to other people, they get told to commit heinous acts of violence and mayhem and I get told to take up crochet? What? I'm not good enough for the mayhem and pillage team? Hold that thought -- menopause is right around the corner. Fertility drugs made me homicidal. I can hardly wait to that next bit starts.

In any event, back to the issue at hand… the damn shawl. The first bit of this weekend has been spent learning to crochet. Yet again. I have to learn how to do it every time this madness overtakes me. The rest of the weekend has been spent swatching. I think we’re committed to the 2 mm hook. The scary bit is that I have to do this without a prescription for Paxil. Or Oxycontin. There’s something wrong with this here picture, somewhere, but I haven’t figured it all out yet.

Okay, it’s bloody cold out today which reminds me there is a naked and shivering pig in Halifax waiting patiently for Auntie Kate to get her act together. Today’s project is to walk away from the crochet and finish poor Willie’s jacket.

Talk to you’se all laters; thanks for reading.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Oddball Gets Olympic Fever

Grab your sticks -- Game ON.

Well, as she often does, the OddBall Universe’s resident psychic -- yes, none other than our own Diana, the Dysfunktional Knitter -- made another one of her eerily predictive statements. She wrote “I think knitting and drinking should be an Olympic sport!”

Strangely enough, around the same time she was typing that on my blog, I was over reading the Yarn Harlot and in a moment of madness, signed myself up for the Winter Knitting Olympics. Technically, I don’t think I qualify because I’ve actually started the project but starting is never my issue. My issue is always finishing. And as regular readers know from my constant on and on about it, I have a silk shawl that is in need of about 20 feet of border -- 16 days to knit 20 feet of 8” wide lace border. It’s not a piker’s challenge. It’s do-able but it’s a commitment. In any event, I did a bit of humming and hawing and despite the fact I was stone cold sober at the time, I bellowed out the OddBall Battle Cry (Oh, what the hell!) and signed up for the Winter Knitting Olympics. In keeping with my biggest source of angst this week, The OddBall’s Winter Knitting Olympic Project is finishing the silk shawl promised the Tyler Hamilton Foundation. I think it's rather fitting, in a lopsided oddball way, considering Hamilton is an Olympic gold medal winner (Athens 2004).

Well, that’s the knitting part…what about the drinking part? Well, Stephanie the Yarn Harlot has those bases covered as well. In yesterday’s column, she covered the dreaded ‘drug testing’ question:

B. Asks "Will there be drug testing?"

No. Although you should be careful to make sure you are consuming enough drugs. (Namely chocolate, red wine and coffee and toward the end...hard liquor.) As for the stronger stuff, I figure that if you can knit a challenge while using any other drugs, good luck to you. It's like that
Canadian Snowboarder who won gold while he was high as a kite. Most peoples major feat after going the way of the BC Skunkweed is to successfully locate a bag of cookies. The way I see it, if you can do that while you are stoned, you should get two gold medals. I wouldn't be able to find the snow.

So there you have it. The OddBall has laid her pride on the line and has a nearly full bottle of Aberlour in the whiskey cupboard. Let the Games begin and the shawl be finished!

Speaking of finishing, a note to Willy because I know Willie’s Momma reads this…I haven’t forgot you, honey, and your jacket is almost finished. Auntie Kate will be down soon for a fitting.

Talk to you’se all laters. I have to go swatch. It’s okay -- Stephanie has classified ‘swatching’ as training. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


You Knit What??: Stirring Shit UP!

So we got some corporate suits in the United States with the gall to claim they've INVENTED the expression "Stitch & Bitch" in 1997 and copyrighted it in 2001. Here it is straight from the mouth of the clown: "No other usage of Stitch & Bitch ever occurred before the first Friday evening gatherings at Sew Fast Sew Easy in it's [sic] first location 147 West 57th Street ..."

Invented the expression, eh? Nice try at revisionist history. Full marks for sheer gall, even. But, uhhhhhhhh, don't think so. It would be merely amusing if it wasn't for the fact that they're now trying to enforce their copyright by harrassing sewing and craft groups who have used the words "stitch and bitch".

You'd a-thunk that the moron corporate suits might have figured out that it's actually the contraction for it is and that the version of the expression they might want to employ is its, indicating possession. One can only hope their sewing instructions are better than their grammar skills.

In any event, before Madame Elissa K, El Presidente of this tribe of misfit liars and dissemblers of the truth decides that her other creditials include inventing knitting and the development of thread, here's the link to the Cafe Press Bite Me Collection.

I can only hope that Madame Elissa K. had the foresight to also copyright the expression "Kiss My Fanny".

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Back off, Liz...

Get your scarf

And hat

The rest of the weekend was marginally more productive than Friday. To date, I have managed to drag several large bits of crap out of the studio and I have recollection that there is a floor down there somewhere. I’ve wound two balls of wool, knit yet another panel on the pig jacket and have contemplated much.

I’ve also taken up papier mache. I decided I needed some heads to display hats on and well, what can one say about Styrofoam heads other than they are just plain bloody tacky. So in true OddBall fashion, the 30 second acquisition of the Styrofoam head became another make-work project that will stretch out over three or four days. There’s just NOTHING simple in my world, is there?

It’s entirely Liz’s fault, of course. Me and La Famille tracked her and Joe Poet down during her 29th birthday brunch and crashed it. Okay, the excuse was we came to bring her present to her but I digress. I murmurled something about ticky-tacky and she came up with the bright idea of papier mache’ng it with brown craft paper. That’s her contribution this week to world peace -- finding me something else to do with my time.

The project, like all projects in the OddBall crib, ended up with one, but just one, trip to the hardware store. I know I have a crate load of wallpaper paste downstairs somewhere but you’d need a whip and a chair to beat your way through the dust bunnies in that ‘storage room’. There’s a reason the Christmas tree lights and tinsel and boxes of ornaments are still sitting on the far end of the couch. Even the OddBall IT and Technical Support Division is afraid to go down there.

And finally, there’s the completely finished Irish Hiking Scarf, along with the almost complete Irish Hiking Hat. It needs a big tassel at the top and I think ear flaps -- Miss Liz disagreeing with that last bit. As these things usually turn out, I’ll knit them and then decided 10 minutes later to tear them out but until then, it’s in need of earflaps. In any event, she wants to steal it but she'd really prefer if I'd make in rust or burgundy before she commits her minor theft.

And the weekend ended with me doing some Done-Buts™. And just realized that I need to get off my can and design, print or by some means, acquire hang tags for this pile of plunder I’ve got started for the fall sale season. I think that should go ahead without any more than 12 trips to the hardware store, 6 to a stationary store, and I’ll just go move into the liquor store.

In any event, duty calls and it’s back to the grind again for me. Talk at you’se all laters; thanks for reading.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

And OddBall rants

Somehow, I'm just not surprised.

Well, I have four days off from work and I should be so very productive. Well, technically, I have three actually if you consider the fact that I slept most of Thursday. Friday was productively spent mailing a package.

No, seriously, other than lunch with Liz, my sum total accomplishments for Friday was I managed to get the shawl for the Tyler Hamilton Foundation charity auction in the mail . One wouldn’t normally consider that a full time production, but then again, one has no idea what an OddBall can do with an extra hour. First, there was that whole bit of the Artist Statement to include with the piece. That took an hour to write and another hour to cut out the pedantic artsy-fartsy pseudo-intellectual horseshit that seemed to fill the thing. By the time I was finished editing it with the use of a Cuisinart and a hate on for humanity, it sounded like it was written by a human being, instead of a complete and total jackass. I hate writing the darn things because the entire function of visual art is to express that which cannot be delineated in words.

Then came the printing of same. No card blanks. I had forgotten that I’d used the last of the blank cards I had here when I did up copies of my mother’s eulogy for friends. Not to fret, there were errands to run in any event. I had to plenty of time to pick up some more, after a brief foray to the post office to find out how to mail this thing to Colorado. Correction, there is NO such thing as a brief foray to a Canadian post office anymore. You can’t just plunk down a box on the bloody counter and say “Mail this here thing to Colorado, US of A, please and thank you -- combien ca, SVP?“. Oh, no, first you have to wade through the categories of surface, small packet, express, expedited, purolated, gizmolated, insulated, insured, antiquated and utterly fornicated. Maximum dimension and minimum densities now ensued and were calculated to 18 decimal points. Never the less, I walked out of there, 20 minutes later, with a very clear idea that it was going to cost me $12 and change to mail the parcel to Colorado.

Remember that number: $12.

Brief foray off to lunch with Liz, whom I hadn’t seen in forever and we went down to the local shop for some card blanks. I was back home in reasonable time with the intention of printing the artist’s statement and packing the entire thing off to its new owners.

NO PAPER. Well, technically, there’s lots of paper here. There are reams of paper here in all colours and sizes and weights and descriptions. I’ve got 20 lb bond, I’m got 24 lb, I’ve got vellum, parchment, card stock. I’ve got nearly as much paper in this house as I have yarn and not one single sheet was right. Not a one.

So, I did the only thing possible, under the circumstances.

I obsessed.

I obsessed that while I had the exact shade in my head, it was not necessarily anywhere in existence and it certainly wasn’t in my collection. I obsessed with what I could do to turn what was in my head to match with what I had on hand. I considered going to the stationary store to find the exact shade of paper in my head but somehow managed to resist. I obsessed some more.

For an hour.

For those of you wondering why I never seem to accomplish anything in the run of a day, in spite the fact that I’m frequently very busy, all day, at accomplishing nothing, that would be the reason. It’s because I can spend an hour obsessing over the fact that I don’t like the shade of pink I have at hand. And it wouldn’t matter if I had 253 shades, weights and textures of pink paper in my hand at the time because, trust me, the shade in my head, would be located right in between two of them. And it would have a higher rag content.

Finally, I get my head out of pink and into blue, which I actually have on hand. I have card blanks that work with blue. I have blue paper. I have blue thread and yarn. I have all manner of blueness. We are now down to a 10 minute job when, wait for it… Printer goes on the fritz.

In any event, with some liberal and loud application of some right proper Anglo-Saxon expressions, the printer was fixed. The thingie was printed. The folding was folded. The tassel was tasselled and affixed and it, and the shawl, were jammed into a box, taped, addressed and it was off to the Post Office to mail it. Time was running short, so before I left the house, I had the sense to make sure I had $12 in my pocket to cover the postage.

The line up at the Post Office started in the parking lot. It was closing time on a Friday and apparently, half the north side citizenry of Fredericton are mailing their worldly belongings to Tuktayuktuk and points further afield. Eventually, I make my way to the front of the line and plunk down my very- well-sealed, custom-declaration-form-affixed-to-the-front-of-the- package, package and the nice Post Office lady, the exact same Post Office Lady as this morning, says “That will be $18 please.”

Apparently, there’s a fuel surtax, and tax taxes and, and, and bloody and, which hadn’t been calculated into the original quote. Thank goodness the credit union was located right across the street. I haven't managed to be 50% off on my calculations on something since the last time I tried to felt something.

So there you have it. The package is away, thrown to the wind and the mercies of the Postal Services and US Customs. And I possibly need a drink.

Talk to you’se all laters; thanks for reading.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Mid-week OddBall update

The much needed 3rd hand

The Irish Hiking Scarf is done …well, I’m still doing the tassels as of this writing. I’m here to say that the knitting machine makes for an excellent tassel template. Everything holds STILL while you tie off the top portion. I’m a-liking it.

Progress on the pig jacket: It’s still coming. Slowly. I need more teal yarn…Liz, road trip. Screw classes -- this is an official B&L emergency, baby. There’s a pig out there with cold parts.

The shawl the THF is getting

On the other, non-knitting-ish front, the Tyler Hamilton Foundation agreed to take one of my shawls for their annual fundraiser/auction/whatever. I have no idea how they’re going to dispose of it, nor do I really care. They can hold a bonfire for all it matters here in OddBall land.

The shawl I'm still building for the THF

Unfortunately, and much to my disappointment, I didn’t finish the purple silk shawl I had started for them. The border is still being vexatious. Typical, isn’t it? The first 5.5 feet went swimmingly; the last 3 inches might be the death of me yet.

My mother was a very good cook and a very accomplished baker. So, it became a bit of a family joke that her only kitchen disasters would inevitably when she was cooking and baking for a church supper. Things like power failures just as the bread had been put in the oven, pies overflow, salt containers and sugar get swapped. She even had an expression for it. “If you’re cooking for the Lord, the Devil’s in the kitchen”.

Personally, I think the Devil’s taken up knitting.

Never fear, I’ve yet to let a hunk of string beat me yet and I’ll be dipped if this one starts it. The Foundation will get their shawl; it’s just behind schedule in a huge way.

In any event, it’s workies tonight so I need to go grab a nap. Talk at you’se all laters; thanks for reading.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

More useless stuff

Half a skirt

Well, this is what I’m doing in my spare time when I’m not knitting jackets for pigs. I’m knitting skirts for Christmas tree balls. It’s a retarded pass time but someone has to do it and Liz isn’t volunteering. Of course, I've made a few changes...more beads. More shiny. Different yarn. They'll hang on different balls. But other than that, they're exactly the same.

It’s back to work tomorrow. I’ll talk at you all laters; thanks for reading.

Friday, January 06, 2006

The happiest member of the OddBall family

Portrait of contentment

Urgent Blogspot communique arrived yesterday. “Hurry. The Pig if freezing."

I’m here to bet that not many family communications start off with that sentence but I’m not the lone wingnut in this OddBall Family.

Meet Wilbur..aka Willy, aka Total Cutie-Pie. I’ll confess that last year I thought my sister had lost her mind when she said she’d adopted a pot-belly pig. The woman has three kids (2 teenagers and a preschooler), a husband, 2 cats, a gecko, a dog, a demanding career. Now that’s a household that needs an addition to it and what else would she need other than a pig?

Yup, I was ready to have her committed. And then Willy arrived in my life, vicariously. I met Willy last year when he came to Grandma’s (our parents) home for Christmas. I had absolutely NO intention of liking this ani-mule, let alone falling in love with him. But what can I say, he’s a charmer.

Okay, I’ve revised my opinion on pigs as pets. They’re loveable and heart stealers. I haven’t revised my opinion on my sister. Having seen how much work a pig is, I still think she’s insane, as she tries to organize that crew of three kids, husband, career, cats, dog, gecko…..Fish. I forgot the fish. Ringley Bros. travels lighter than she does on vacation. And please, don’t ask how pigs travel. Let’s just leave it at NOT WELL.

So, at the end of the day, as much as I love Willy, he’s an enormous amount of work, so there’s no pigs headed for the OddBall crib. But I can satiate my piggy requirements by knitting him jackets. I hope to have it ready for felting by tomorrow.

Talk to you’se all laters; thanks for reading.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Gauge and tension...

Scarves in two gauges.

Okay, well, what did you do today? My day was largely occupied by sleeping and ripping and a bit of knitting.

First the ripping part: I went to sew on part 3 of the pig jacket to discover that in my wild madness, I had made said part 3 too long by 32 rows -- at the start of part 3. I hummed. I hawed. I think I even pondered but there was NO get out from under the mistake. Trust me, I tried. So, in a fit of “oh for the Love of Saint Peter” (or something spelled vaguely like that), I ripped it asunder. Tore it out completely and rewound the yarn. Now that’s a frogging you can stand up and be proud of.

Then, last night, while I was in conference with several other knitters -- that’d be Joan, Becky and Meagan, we came to the unanimous conclusion that the tension on my Irish Hiking Scarf was too tight. I had a sneaking suspicious about mile marker 8” inches that it was too dense but soldiered on. Last night I took it into my head to recast the scarf on size 6 mm needles. Much, much better. So size 6 it shall be. The size 5 mm is just too dense for a scarf. You want a bit of drapey with a scarf, in my opinion.

All is not lost however. I took into my head that I could use the size 5 used to be a scarf for the foundation for a hat. NO frogging there, you’ll all be glad to hear. It’s getting recycled.

And where's the pictures of the pig jacket? Well, it's not much to look at right now. It's a huge chunk of teal Briggs & Little singles knit up too loose on a knitting machine with two smaller chunks to be added. Use your imaginations -- rectangle in teal. That's it to date. Not terribly photogenic, I'm afraid.

Talk at you’se all laters; thanks for reading. I'm knitting ALL day tomorrow.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year

More scarves

Well, I must admit the blogging kind of went to Hell in the proverbial hand basket over the holidays. It was hard to write about what I wasn’t technically knitting -- namely some presents for my co-workers. The scarf on the left belongs to Princess Becky and the one on the right is Meagan’s. Not shown yet is Joan’s because it hasn’t been back to work yet…something about seniority and not needing to work the Christmas holidays springs to mind.

The middle one is that Irish hiking scarf I stole from Diana. Oh, fine, be bloody technical then. I didn’t steal the scarf. I stole the pattern from a link on Diana’s blog. You all happies now? There’s more to come. I’m about three quarters of the way through knitting the pig jacket. That’s another column in and of itself.

Right now, it’s nap time. I have to work tonight and for some strange reason, the City has an expectation that I’ll stay upright with my eyes open for all of it. Good grief, they lack a sense of humour. You’d think they paid me for all this.

Talk at you’se all laters; thanks for reading.

PS: the ubiquitous New Year’s resolution is to keep the ‘Blog a little more up to date than the last month. The sporadic was just not cool for this OddBall. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday.